7 Steps To Spill Response

Businesses thrive on industrial fluids. They are required to create products, lubricate machines, cool parts and to perform a variety of other tasks. It is inevitable that spills will happen, but with effective preparation and the correct equipment they can be controlled, and costly accidents can be avoided.

Kestrel Industrial is a leading provider of environmental compliance and safety products to industrial and commercial facilities.

Keeping Kestrel Spill Kits on hand is a great first step toward effective spill preparedness, and for enabling quick spill response. Kestrel Spill Kits are packed to aid fast response and ensure immediate access as spills can happen when we least expect them. Identifying the worst possible spill scenario will enable companies to cover all bases and stock the correct size of Spill Kit, and knowing this potential helps a facility determine what tools and equipment will be needed for proper response.

When spills happen

Although Spill response plans are specific to a facility, Kestrel has identified 7 steps that will ensure effective spill response:

  1. Assess the risk
  2. Select personal protective equipment
  3. Confine the spill
  4. Stop the source
  5. Evaluate the incident and implement cleanup
  6. Decontaminate the site
  7. Complete required report

These steps along with the correct equipment and training will ensure that spill response is both fast and effective.

1. Assess the risk

From the moment a spill occurs and throughout response, responders should determine the risks that may affect human health, the environment and property. This could be instant because you know the liquid spilled because you were working with it, or it may involve some investigation. The spilled material can be identified from the container label or the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

Next, identify how much has been spilled and the primary dangers posed to the spill responders and the environment. Once the extent of the spill and the risks are understood, appropriate measures may need to be taken to isolate the spill area (e.g. setting up exclusion zones).

2. Select personal protective equipment (PPE)

The spill responder may already be wearing the necessary PPE because they were working with the spilled liquid, but if not, it is crucial that the appropriate PPE is chosen. Consulting the SDS, Chemical Manufacturers literature or the PPE Manufacturers literature can aid in choosing. If the danger is uncertain and the material is unknown, the worst should be assumed, and the highest level of protection used.

Kestrel does not supply PPE in their spill kits because the chemicals and liquids companies are responding to and sizes of personnel vary widely. PPE should be specifically chosen by the company using it so that the appropriate protection is chosen.

3. Confine the spill

Confining the spill may be a simple task for spills of a few liters or it could be more difficult for larger spills, so it is important to make sure that the correct absorbents and size of spill kit are available for the liquids that have been spilled. Kestrel Universal Absorbents absorb oils, coolants, solvents and water; Kestrel Oil-Only Absorbents soak up oil not water; Kestrel HazMat absorbents absorb most acids, caustics or unknown liquids. Kestrel Spill Kits come in a variety of sizes to accommodate both large and small spills.

Once the correct absorbents or kits have been chosen, responders should limit the spill area by blocking, diverting, or confining the spill. Kestrel non-absorbent barriers such as our Spill Blocker Dike or a Conical Drain Plug help to do so. The flow of the liquid should also be stopped before it has a chance to contaminate a water source – minimizing the spill area and protecting drains are the priorities. Make sure the barrier is placed far enough away from the spill to ensure you can complete the setup but also far away from sensitive areas, such as drains and waterways.

4. Stop the source

This step may happen before the spill is even confined depending on the extent or the size of the spill. This could simply involve turning a container upright or plugging a leak from a damaged drum or container. Kestrel Multi-Purpose Putty or Drum and Tanker Tourniquets are effective products for stopping leaks from punctured pipes, drums, or tanks. Once the leak has been stopped the liquids should be transferred from the damaged container to a new one.

5. Evaluate and implement cleanup

Once the spill is confined and the leak has been stopped, it is time to reassess the incident and develop a plan of action for implementing the spill cleanup. First, responders should make sure they have enough spill response supplies to deal with the incident. Enough Kestrel Absorbent Products should be used to quickly absorb the spill and should be placed throughout the confined spill area. Additional Kestrel Products can also be used such as vacuums, pumps and containers. Once the absorbents are saturated, they may be considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of properly.

6. Decontaminate

The site, personnel, and equipment should be decontaminated by removing or neutralizing the hazardous materials that have accumulated during the spill. This may involve removing and disposing of contaminated media, such as soil, that was exposed during the spill incident. PPE may be able to be reused after inspection and cleanup. An effective decontamination area should also be created to ensure the health and safety of emergency responders.

7. Complete required reports

As soon as possible after the spill, all spill notifications and reports required by local and national guidelines should be completed. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties. Typical reports include medical reports, local council or district reports, Environment Agency reports and company safety reports.

The steps above are simply a guide for companies to follow when responding to spills. They do not constitute a spill response plan in themselves, but together they provide a framework for companies to build a customized plan. Taking these steps will help companies be more prepared and able to respond effectively to unexpected spills.

Find out more:

Kestrel Industrial provides a comprehensive range of Spill Kits from our online store. Or you can give us a call at (800) 264-9768.